Advocates for Children

First-Year Colloquium, Fall 2001

Overview, Requirements, and Grading

Freshmen are required to participate in a Service-Learning activity this semester at an approved site. The amount of time commitment will vary depending on the site (see below). For sites that do not have a minimum commitment, we are expecting students to devote a minimum of twenty hours during the fall semester. (Some sites have their own time commitments that require more than 20 hours; students should adhere to their site requirements.) Completion of these hours accounts for 75% of the Service-Learning grade (the Service-Learning component of your colloquium grade).

Journal Assignment

15% of the Service-Learning grade is based upon a journal that the students will keep throughout the semester. This journal is intended as a place for students to reflect, question, and record their experiences. Students will be asked to answer a series of questions in their journal (see below). These questions are intended to guide their reflection about the experiences as a participant in community service. In addition, students are free to use their journals as a space for expressing any thoughts regarding their experiences with children at the Service-Learning site. The journal will be collected and read twice during the semester: at mid-term and the end of the semester. Journals are not graded on personal content or thoughts expressed in entries. Instead evaluation will be based upon the completion of these guided journal questions with reasonable content (one to two handwritten or typed pages per question)will result in a full credit for this portion of the grade.

The Service Learning journal will be collected on October 17, 2001 with the expectation that questions 1-5 will be answered and on November 28, 2001 with the expectation that the remaining questions (#6-10) will be answered. If at any point during the semester, students would like their journals looked at (if they have a specific comment or concern they would like feedback on, or if they just want to be sure their entries are on the right track), contact Maria Day, who will be happy to look at them.

Service Learning Reflections Questions to be Answered in Numerical Order:
  1. What are your expectations as you prepare to begin your community service? Have you done anything like this before? What are your goals or what do you hope to learn or experience?
  2. Describe in detail what your first day of training or working with children was like. Did you feel excited? happy? anxious? stress-out? Who did you meet? Assess your current feelings about the work.
  3. Now that you have been to your service learning site more than once, how do you feel about the work you are doing? Do you believe it is important? Does it fulfill any of your goals or expectations so far?
  4. What kind of interpersonal relationships are you developing through your service? Have you interacted with the community you are serving directly yet? Or have you mostly interacted with the service site staff up until now? Are the relationships what you expected? Do they have any impact on your feelings about your work?
  5. Pretend you are writing an email to a friend about your experiences in service learning (maybe you have already done this?). Use this journal entry to document both the good and the bad. Would you recommend this kind of service work to your friend?
  6. Look back at your previous five journal entries. Have any of your opinions, goals, expectations changes as the result of your work at the service learning site? Have you learned anything new during your work?
  7. Now that you know something about your service learning site through work, do some research and find out what the organization's/site's Mission Statement is. (Write it in your journal) Based upon your experiences as a volunteer, do you think this organization/site is fulfilling its mission? Explain why or why not.
  8. Think about the lives of the children you are working with. Have you had any insights into the ways they are growing up? Do you think you personally can make a difference in their lives? Describe an experience you have had where you think you had a positive effect on a child or children at your Service-Learning site.
  9. Pretend you are going to train another Advocate for work at your service learning site. What would you tell the new person? Do you think the site provides adequate training or would you add something else to help them to feel more prepared?
  10. What did this service learning work teach you? Did you learn any professional skills that you may use later? Did you do the kind of work you hoped to do? Would you do this sort of work again in the future? Explain why or why not.

Reflection Paper

The remaining 10% of the grade is based on a three-page reflection paper, due December 5th, on the Service-Learning experience. This paper is a chance for students to review their journals, look back on their experiences, and reflect on what they have learned.

Some guiding questions to think about while you write this paper are:

A final element is required for this reflection paper. Students are asked to take one issue touched on in colloquium this semester and draw a connection between this issue and their Service-Learning experience. This is the most important part of the paper, so keep it in mind during the semester as issues are discussed and presented in class, and as you attend your Service-Learning program.

Summary of Requirements:

1. Participate at an approved Service-Learning site, according to that site's commitment requirements. If your site does not have any requirement concerning the minimum time commitment you are to make, a minimum of 20 hours is expected.
2. Due on October 17, 2001: A journal responding to reflection questions #1-5
3. Due on November 28, 2001: A journal responding to reflection questions #6-10
4. Due December 5, 2001: A 3-page reflection paper addressing some or all of the suggested questions above, and relating an issue from colloquium to your experience at a Service-Learning site.

Service-Learning Sites

Listed below are the five Service-Learning sites that have been approved. Once you have selected a site, you are committed to staying with that site's program for the duration of the Fall semester.

Option #1: Advocates for Children and Lakeland Stars Tutoring and Mentoring Program

Who: 24 students from the AFC Program, and 22 Paint Branch Elementary School children.
Where: Chestertown and Bel Air Lounges.
When: Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:45 pm.
Training: Thursday, September 13, 2001.
Time Commitment: 2 1/4 hours per week throughout the semester.
Contact Person: Maria Day, 301-314-5909, e-mail:

Description: Research shows that moderate to high-risk students who participate in college outreach programs increase their odds of enrolling in a four-year college nearly two-fold. The Lakeland Stars program pairs Advocates with second through sixth graders for a mentoring/tutoring program. Advocates and Lakeland Stars pairs will spend the first hour on homework, and the second on fun and recreational activities. In 1996, Al Gardner, Director of CPS Advocates for Children, helped to establish the Lakeland Stars program.

Community Served: Lakeland is a mixed income neighborhood of approximately 400 households within the City of College Park and located just across Route 1 from the University of Maryland campus. This small, proud neighboorhood is one of the oldest African American communities in Prince George's County.

Option #2: Children's Developmental Clinic

Who: Unlimited number of Advocates, and children from the community seeking developmental support of all kinds.
Where: On Campus, Downstairs Gym, Health and Human Performance Bldg. ("HHP," a.k.a., "the North Gym").
When: Saturday mornings from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Training: Saturday, September 8, 2001, and Saturday, September 15, 2001.
Clinic Starts: Saturday, September 27, 2001.
Time Commitment: 4 hours per week for approx. 10 straight weeks, plus initial training. Those who know they will miss some weeks may be able to make an arrangement at the outset to be a substitute clinician instead of a regular one.
Contact Person: Dr. Paul Hahn, 301-405-2442, 301-322-0071

Description: This is a well seasoned, excellent opportunity for students to work one-on-one with children ages infant to 12 years old. Clinicians receive pre-clinic training. Pairs practice developmental skills including motor, academic, and creative skills. The clinic approach to working with children is in the area of motor development in a one-to-one individualized "fun with a friend" program.

Community Served: The Clinic provides a special service to children, birth through age 21, who are experiencing various developmental difficulties such as learning problems, developmental delays, physical fitness and coordination problems, brain damage, mental retardation, emotional disturbances or orthopedic handicaps. All of the children enrolled in the program have been referred by various professionals such as teachers, pediatricians, psychologists or therapists.

Option #3: St. Ann's Infant and Maternity Home

Who: Unlimited number of Advocates, and children who reside at St. Ann's, new-born through eight years old.
Where: St. Ann's Infant and Maternity Home, 4901 Eastern Avenue, Hyattsville, MD.
When: As scheduled.
Time Commitment: 20 hours.
Contact Person: Maria Day, 301-314-5909, e-mail: maday@wam.umd.edu

Description: St. Ann's is a residential program for children, pregnant and new teen mothers. There are day-care, preschool, and developmental services for children and counseling, parenting, certification, job skills, and GED classes for the parents. Childrens physical, emotional, developmental, and educational needs are met by a variety of services and opportunities. Students may work with infants and children in classrooms, nurseries, or living areas. There is also the possibility to tutor parents for their GED exams, 5-9 pm in the libraries or group lounges.

Community Served: St. Ann's programs recognize and enhance human dignity and worth by providing residential care and services to abused and neglected children and to single pregnant and parenting adolescents in crises, as well as quality day care to the children of working families. A large community of children and families are served. For example, the Residential Children's Program provided emergency placement and short term care to 276 children last year.

Option #4: The Caring Project

Who: 20 or more Advocates, and at-risk children from Langley Park.
Where: Hope Lutheran Church and Student Center, Guilford Rd. and Knox Rd., on the south border of campus.
When: Fridays from 2:00-5:00 pm.
Training: Friday, August 31, 2001.
Tutoring Starts: September 7, 2001
Time Commitment: 3 hours per session for 11 sessions, plus training.
Contact Person: Rev. Beth Platz, 301-405-8448, campus office 2103 Chapel, 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM, Mondays through Thursdays

Description: The Caring Project works with children from the nearby Langley Park community. Volunteers are needed for the nine Friday tutoring/mentoring sessions. Attendance at each session is required. These weekly visits are designed to increase children's self-esteem and encourage them to continue their education. There are many opportunities for bilingual Spanish-English volunteers to use their language skills.

The Caring Project facilitates learning by dividing the children into four rotating groups. The KNOW IT ALLS' activity involves reading and writing, such as book reports, plays, designing their own cities, story-writing and -telling, etc. The CREATORS engage in an arts and crafts project. These projects are centered around cultures or educational concepts. The EXPLORERS take local educational field trips. Some field trips in the past have included the Patxuent Wildlife Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, and University locations such as Cole Field House or the Campus Recreation Center. The fourth group, The KITCHEN CREW, follows a recipe, prepares and serves the end-of-the-day snack.

Community Served: The children from Langley Park come from a multi-cultural community. Unfortunately, the neighborhood is marked by high unemployment, language barriers, drugs and poverty. There are approximately 20-24 children in the program during a given semester. The children are fourth through sixth graders at Langley Park McCormick Elementary School and are chosen by their principal to be enrolled in the program.

Option #5: Greenbelt CARES

Who: Advocates, and neighborhood children.
Where: Hornbake Library.
When: Tutors and students can choose the times and dates once they are assigned to a student-parent team.
Time Commitment: 20 hours.
Contact Person: Judye Hering, 301-345-6660

Description: Greenbelt CARES offers a free tutoring program for students from Prince George's county. The coordinator, Judye Hering, provides excellent training and support for the volunteers. Students are assigned to tutors by geographic location and subject preference. Judye organizes the pairs for this one-on-one tutoring activity.

Other ideas? Find another site and at least four other Advocates who want to work there, and propose your group's idea to Maria Day, Service-Learning Coordinator, 301-314-5909 (Advocates office), e-mail: maday@wam.umd.edu.


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